Oliver Sanchez didn’t set out to be a conduit for other artists’ visions, but, “This has always been something the stars just sort of sent my way,” he mused. That means both celestial stars and art stars. Raised in Miami, Sanchez moved to New York in 1977, where he participated in the art and dance club explosion. Active with his brother in art direction and graphic design, he befriended Keith Herring, Madonna, Jean Michel Basquiat and assisted in Kenny Scharf’s studio. Scharf enticed him back to Miami in 1992.
Boundlessly active, Sanchez manages to find time for his own (often wryly humorous) painting, while also directing Swampspace, an alternative exhibition venue for artists, students and visionaries outside the commercial mainstream. David Rohn, one of the “regulars,” pronounced a recent performance “messy and subversive.”
While adept with clay, wood and other “classic” materials and backed with an architecture diploma, Sanchez’s frequently fabricates with hot-wire-cut Styrofoam, covered with a plaster or epoxy shell and painted. “I like the fact that it's 98% air,” he quipped. A current example, the 10-foot tall Space Shuttle, commissioned by Daniel Arsham – a frequent client – for a New York retail shop.
“DASH Kids,” standing figures of a boy and girl who tower over the nearby Design and Architecture School campus, is an early, iconic project. Designed in 2001 by Roberto and Rosario Marquardt, (R&R Studios), they're modeled after Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. DASH also provides studio interns, who get real-world experience.
George Fishman is a free-lance writer and director ofQRartguide a custom audio service that records and delivers artist and curatorial statements to audiences via their smart phones,
using QR codes.